Brett Raynes – Marketing in the Cloud
“To answer the question about why companies haven’t differentiated is both a generic question of marketing and a question of the industry itself. You can look at any industry and a whole bunch of companies fail to differentiate themselves. And then they just wither over time. Differentiation is really really hard. If you read some of the Jack Trout ‘Differentiate or Die’-type books, you can look at all the different industries, whether it’s a pizza company or a high street retailer, differentiation is really hard. Generally.
So within the IT industry (which is actually a relatively young industry, compared to say, grocery or clothing), there isn’t always the skills in those businesses, the deep marketing skills to understand that point. And so they make points of differentiation that aren’t points of differentiation. And it’s an indictment (a little bit) of the marketing capabilities of those IT services companies. So they might be great at email campaigns, they might be great at datasheets and brochures and case studies and everything. But differentiation is probably one of the hardest things of all. Because it’s that thing about ‘the more you focus, the more opportunity you find’. And most businesses just want to cast the net wide. The sales department of a sales-led company that says ‘Well, we’ll just cast the net wide, we’ll fish for what we can and it’s all revenue isn’t it.’ But the marketing approach that’s very differentiated says ‘We have to go narrower and narrower and narrower and narrower. The narrower we go, the more we can penetrate, the more opportunity we find.’
I think there’s a battle going on between sales and marketing in that regard. And marketing often loses the battle, because they’re not driving the revenue. So I think it’s a generic marketing issue and a management capability issue, a leadership issue from marketing.”
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